"The Sandwich Generation"

Please take 11 minutes and watch this excellent documentary - "The Sandwich Generation" - about 83 year old Herbie and his daughter and her family who care for him. As someone who has walked in their shoes, I find their story comforting and encouraging as they articulate many of the feelings I experienced. (HT - Pat at Sometimes I Feel Like a Piece of Bologna)

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Heart hunger for intimacy

In her book Dear Abba, Finding the Father's Heart through Prayer, Claire Cloninger tells the story of Mother Teresa's 1979 Nobel prize acceptance speech in which Mother Teresa spoke of visiting a nursing home - "where elderly people had been placed by their adult children."

When Mother Teresa entered the nursing home, she was initially impressed by the well-furnished and attractive decor until she noticed the expressions on the faces of the nursing home's residents.

"I saw in that home they had everything, beautiful things, but everybody was looking toward the door. And I did not see a single one with a smile on their face. And I turned to the sister (in charge) and I asked:...'How is it that these people who have everything here, why are they all looking toward the door? Why are they not smiling?'"

The sister in charge told Mother Teresa that the residents were not smiling, but looking toward the door in the hope and expectation that their son or daughter would enter. The sister added, "They are hurt because they are forgotten."

Claire Cloninger wrote:
"Mother Teresa was reminded that day of something she had often observed in her work: that 'the poorest of the poor' are not the only ones who know poverty. There is poverty in the midst of great wealth. There is loneliness in the middle of crowded rooms. And all of us are hungry. Even the well fed have a hunger of the heart."



"Do you have any idea what you would have gotten yourself into?"

On the way to my brother's house Thanksgiving morning, we stopped to visit with Louis' aunt and her sister - both widows in their 80's who look absolutely fantastic for their age. Some how the conversation became focused on nursing homes. Louis informed his aunt, as he has done numerous times in the past, that she doesn't even need to consider living in a nursing home because should she need the assistance, we would be delighted to have her live with us.

Louis' Aunt V had lived in a nearby nursing home and developed severe bed sores that eventually led to her death from infection. It was horrible, and totally preventable. Louis reminded his aunt and her sister that we had wanted Aunt V to come live us.

"Do you have any idea what you would have gotten yourself into?" Louis' aunt's sister quizzed us.

Turning to me Louis said, "We did it for two years for Pat's mom!"

"It was like caring for a 140 pound baby," I explained, "but I did it. I had to figure out many things for myself, but eventually I was able to get a hoyer lift to get mother in and out of bed and an alternating pressure mattress so I did not have to get up during the night to turn her."

"I bathed her, turned her, fed her, changed her, read to her, talked to her, and loved her," I added.

I miss her so very much. I would be so honored to still be caring for her if the Lord had let her stay here longer.

I really would.
Even without our conversation, I had been thinking about my mother a lot lately. She had been discharged from the hospital to the rehab center where daddy was in a nursing home because she had been having difficulty walking and couldn't be at home by herself, and it was on a Thanksgiving morning that the center called to tell me that they had sent mother to the hospital in an ambulance after finding her slumped over in her wheelchair and unresponsive.

For the first time, we had decided not to cook a big meal that Thanksgiving, but to help serve at a meal being provided by a local church. Instead, we headed three hours north to the hospital where mother had been taken and the nursing home where my daddy was living.

Memories of many of the details of the next week and a half are sketchy, but my mother's health continued to decline, and my father died after a brief hospitalization just 10 days after Thanksgiving.

A few days before Christmas, my bedridden mother was moved into our home.

The truth is that I really didn't have any idea what I had gotten myself into, but I knew that I could love on my mother and provide much better care for her than she was receiving in an institution.

I won't lie. It was hard - very hard, and even though I did not know what I had gotten myself into - I really would do it again.